We are at the third Sunday of Advent already, and only a week and a day left until Christmas so I was thinking last week about Christmas trees. Not only is it one of the primary Christmas decoration traditions (I know people who consider where they would put a Christmas tree when they are looking at houses to buy), but it is also a part of our Church’s tradition so I thought I would share with you some of that information and paraphrasing or quoting directly from the Catholic Church’s Book of Blessings on the Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Tree.
The origins of the Christmas tree are from the medieval period where they referred to a tree of paradise and the Christmas light or candle symbolizing Christ. The tree was normally set up just before Christmas and would be kept up until theFeast of the Epiphany. Normally they would be put up in a home but they could also be placed in a church. I think the most informative part about the Christmas tree isn’t given in the introduction for the blessing (which is where I got the above information) but rather in the two options they have for the Prayer of Blessing itself that are as follows:
Lord our God, we praise you for the light of creation: the sun, the moon, and the stars of the night. We praise you for the light of Israel: the Law, the prophets, and the wisdom of the Scriptures. We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son: He is Emmauel, God-with-us, the Prince of Peace, who fills us with the wonder of your love.
Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we illumine this tree. May the light and cheer it gives be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts. May all who delight in this tree come to the knowledge and joy of salvation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Holy Lord, we come with joy to celebrate the birth of your Son, who rescued us from the darkness of sin by making the cross a tree of life and light.
May this tree, arrayed in splendor, remind us of the life-giving cross of Christ, that we may always rejoice in the new life that shines in our hearts.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
As you can see the blessings tell us that the tree is to remind us of Christ and the eternal life he offers us. That seems like a pretty joyful thought.